After a year of abject Covid carnage but the blessing of being able to work with delightful newly arrived Yazidi refugee students busting to learn English and dedicated teaching colleagues at the local high school, cancelled overseas and homegrown travel bookings, family issues and slipping in to less than healthy eating and exercising habits, enough was enough! So taking full advantage of Queensland’s relative freedom and needing to feel the sand and surf again, my OM (Obliging Mate) and I have set off on a nostalgia trip to the Sunshine State’s Sunshine Coast.
Day 1 saw a slightly drizzly start from home in Toowoomba. Not unhappy that the garden might get a drink while we are away though. An uneventful drive through the Lockyer Valley, past Ipswich and on to the motorway leading us north through Brisbane, and we were off on a long-awaited adventure. The Brisbane River divides not only the physical capital in to two competing camps of north and south, but we did the inevitable memory jogger of “When was the last time we were northside?” Being Southsiders there was a hint of superiority in that question I fear.
All rather ho hum suburban scenery. Then we crossed the Hornibrook bridge, and were glad to see the familiar fishing from the remnants of the old toll bridge – a penny a pop in old money- and suddenly we were on The Peninsular.
Our mini-vacation had begun! How appropriate to start with catching up with old friend and colleague, Gina. Her rendezvous on the Margate foreshore opposite the Red Dolphin fish and chip shop was a great spot – the crow, seagull and inevitable ‘bin chicken’ ibis also thought so. With a brisk South Easterly wind whipping up whitecaps, and a slightly hazy view across to Moreton Island, we tucked in to a highly rated lunch and in to natter. Bags of reading matter and jigsaws were exchanged as well for a couple of charities back home and we then continued north along the seafront to Mon Komo, our digs for the night. Great location.
A quick luggage drop off and we were on our way to the meetup with school chum Pam. She and partner Den are global adventurers and we had a lovely time telling traveller tales together, while admiring their beachfront apartment – a little piece of Santorini transported – and that same Moreton Island vista. No ho hum suburbia here!
Dinner was a light curry evening at Royale Indian along the streetscape showing a few signs of Covid collapse with empty shopfronts and the aftermath of lockdown and a nervous and uncertain economy. Though for a Monday night, the numbers of dine-in patrons was encouraging.
Then for the early morning walk to uncover the history of the area that sadly Brisbane southsiders lack.
What a discovery! The boardwalk only a few metres down below from Marine Parade, and obviously a favourite with early morning locals, holds hidden gems. Though the weather was overcast and drizzly, the adrenalin of walking and finding the quirky, cute or curious always spurs me on. As the sun tried to peak through it lightened the shoreline and allowed me a glimpse of how community facilities can be contoured in to the landscape well…..Sutton’s Beach a fun example.
Further along came the pavilion, the jetty, the Anzac Park and the memorials to Europen settlement – noting the first spot in Queensland.
The streetscape shares the old and the new, the past and the present…….quite a variety. I particularly liked the lines of long ago architectural fashions. Then there were the hidden gems in arcades and the Bee Gees Way tribute to Redcliffe’s famous singing brothers. Lots of coffee shops were opening for their regulars and my exploration of this interesting section of the coast ended back at the hotel before OM even stirred. Thanks Redcliffe.